Most Valuable Potential
Sean Watson’s destiny was assured. His life’s arrow was in flight and a single, predictable, inevitable bullseye lay in its path. He was an NBL player, a Brisbane Thunder star. His fans adored him. His city anointed him. He played the game he loved, earned a keep, lived his dream.
Then it was torn away, courtesy of the left knee, then the right.
Now, plying the consolation basketball trade of education liaison officer and still yearning for past glories, he arrives at Milpera, Australia’s one and only Government-run school for migrants and refugees, and runs headlong into his team – six of Generation Next’s finest. Initially, it seems a hopeless marriage. But hounded and inspired by the persistence of his pregnant wife, the ‘Me-do-it Girl’ Jessica Danielle Bradshaw, Sean begins to turn things around. In the midst of communication breakdowns, near riots, masturbation references, encounters with gangs, toilet problems and practical jokes, he earns respect and puts himself ahead of the game. He also experiences a small, burgeoning love thought lost with the demise of his playing career.
And that love will be tested, for things are starting to tear again. Milpera’s under the threat of closure. His team’s one shot at glory is a Hail Mary at best. Jessica’s pregnancy is getting complicated.
And ‘race’ is the federal election’s four-letter word.
Most Valuable Potential is the feel good story for all times and all ages. It’s about loss and laughter, tolerance and prejudice, stolen dreams and new beginnings. It’s about lives moving forward when standing still is the easy out. It’s about permitting our most valuable potential to shine through.
“Darren Groth is a writer to watch. His work is insightful, poignant and funny. His characters come to life in a way that makes readers realise they are in the hands of a born storyteller…”
– Venero Armanno
“Darren Groth is a fresh and exciting voice in young adult literature.”
– Nick Earls
“This sizzling and comically poignant tale about an ex basketballer teaching a group of refugee students at a special school is a page-turner. Its contemporary truths are part of its strength. This is a story that needs to be told right here, right now. For a new novelist, Darren Groth demonstrates an amazing ability to create people who live and breathe, layered stories, comedy, a recognition of the limits of outside understanding of the refugee experience…plus a darn good yarn that has you standing up and cheering at the end.”
– Judges’ Comments Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards 2004
“A quality read.”
– CBC ‘Reading Time’